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The Final Fantasy Project: Final Fantasy IV, part 9

I don't expect it to last, but it'll be nice while it does.

Artwork from a sketch by Yoshitaka Amano

Here we are, back at the tower again, assaulting it in the hopes of accomplishing… something.  I’m not entirely clear on what the heroes plan to actually do here.  On one level, we’re sort of chasing Rubicante, or Edge certainly is; on another level, it’s one of those situations wherein the plot has stepped back to allow the player to keep moving forward based solely on what’s available to access.  Since the Tower of Babil features rather prominently in Golbez’s plan, I suppose anything that involves us screwing with it is probably a good thing.

It is neat that you see this tower from two sides, though, with this run starting closer to the top while the previous one started at the bottom.  Edge helpfully ninja-moves us into the tower proper, and the group can start heading toward… wherever Rubicante is now.  Hey, maybe he he still has the crystals!  That would be a good thing.  Let’s go with that as our motivation, then.

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The Final Fantasy Project: Final Fantasy IV, part 8

I don't expect it to last, but it'll be nice while it does.

Artwork from a sketch by Yoshitaka Amano

The road to the Tower of Babil is a long one.  Part of that is because it is not, strictly speaking, a road; it’s a layer of solid rock over rivers of magma.  Another part of that is that it is not a tourist destination.  Much as I like the idea of dwarven groups riding little dwarven tour buses back and forth, sending postcards that read “LALI-HO FROM THE TOWER OF BABIL,” that’s not what happens.

I keep getting my hopes up, but it’s time to face fact.

After a fairly long trek, the dwarven tanks are finally visible, opening fire on the tower as a distraction tactic.  That’s enough distraction for the group to slip in on the bottom floor, rushing toward the obviously advanced facility suspended over a river of lava.  The casual presence of technology feels a bit disconnected, but it’s also an interesting echo of the endgame portions of Final Fantasy I, a world far bigger than the pseudo-medieval setting that has seemed fairly stable up until now.

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The Final Fantasy Project: Final Fantasy IV, part 7

I don't expect it to last, but it'll be nice while it does.

Artwork from a sketch by Yoshitaka Amano

Apparently, collecting all of the Crystals will open the path to the moon, which Golbez thinks is super important.  Kain also has the Magma Stone, which he’s sure can be used to enter the Underworld, although he’s not sure how or when or why or any of that stuff.  That’s some real good thinking there, Kain.  Cid is undeterred, however, claiming the group can just fly around on the Enterprise until they find the right place.

I would have thought the Enterprise got destroyed when the Tower of Zot collapsed, but apparently it has a plot-specific autopilot that brought it back to Baron.

Everyone goes to sleep for the night, I assume in the same bed, and then it’s off to find the next place we have to go.  Of course, if you’d already explored and found the town where everyone is apparently part dwarf, you can probably piece together what you have to do next.  Time for a quick restock and then a trip to a weird little village with a pit!

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The Final Fantasy Project: Final Fantasy IV, part 6

I don't expect it to last, but it'll be nice while it does.

Artwork from a sketch by Yoshitaka Amano

While we’ve already had to ditch all of our metallic equipment (i.e. most of the good equipment we’ve got) just to approach the stupid dungeon, there’s one more hoop to jump through – reaching it.  That means a trip way to the north to pick up a chocobo capable of crossing rivers, something that’s only vaguely hinted at by the game.  It’s easy to miss the very existence of these chocobo forests, so that doesn’t help matter.  And, unfortunately, there’s no way to just bring the airship up to the darn thing…

Anyhow.  The net upside is that you have to catch a Black Chocobo, which will allow you to fly over, land in the forest, and then get moving.  No idea how we’re getting back, but that’s how these things go.  Tellah and Yang are quite confident that this cave shouldn’t pose a problem despite the fact that the other half of the party does, in fact, make use of metallic stuff.  Also, there’s the fact that Tellah barely has enough MP to sustain casting for long.  Also, Yang is kind of terrible.  Neither of them thought this plan out at all.

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The Final Fantasy Project: Final Fantasy IV, part 5

I don't expect it to last, but it'll be nice while it does.

Artwork from a sketch by Yoshitaka Amano

Things are cascading toward what would appear to be the endgame awfully fast in Final Fantasy IV, although the chances of it actually being the endgame are about nil.  For one thing, I’d be really surprised if one of these games ended with characters in the late teens or early twenties in terms of level.  Also I’ve still got more elemental fiends to face, I’m sure, and there are a lot of plot elements still unexplained.  Plus, you know, I checked.

But we’re still swinging right along in our goal to get an airship, rescue Rosa, kill Golbez, and then… do something?  I don’t know if Cecil actually has a plan for the endgame here.  Once Yang is kitted out again with some equipment retrieved from the Fat Chocobo and a few more things bought in Baron (you can unlock those stores now), it’s time to move forward!  By which I mean it’s time to totally ignore stated objectives and head back toward Mist, because there’s stuff there, even though it makes no sense whatsoever.

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